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Re: Design fee guidelines

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I have been reading responses to many questions and comments on this
list over the last few months without any reply of my own.  On one
occasion I almost did, regarding the numerous comments on shearwall
design.  Nailing, nail slip, holdowns and holdown slip, rigid verses
flexible diaphragms in plywood, which all boiled down to what I could
see as design, redesign, redeisign, perpetual itteratation etc., etc.,
etc.  Then time history vs linear an on and on.

I work in the Rocky Mountain West.  High snow loads, high seismic, and
high wind.  I couldn't figure out if the fees where the rest of you work
would pay for all that messing around or if your employees get peanuts
for wages.  If the first is true, I would like to send out some resumes,
otherwise I might just sit tight.

My feeling is that 2% or 2.5% would be easier gained if it weren't for
engineers in our field willing to sell very little for less, and for
clients who can't figure out that field fixes or field retrofit are
usually far more expensive that what the original design may have cost.

I agree totally, we are our worst enemy.  My hat is off to you Bill

Bill Allen, S.E. wrote:
> The following response is merely my opinion and is not intended to offend or
> flame anyone in particular..
> One of the reasons you feel "lucky" to get 1% is that either you are willing
> to do it for that low of fee or your colleagues (competition) are willing to
> do it for that fee. Hypothetically, If NO qualified structural engineer
> would touch a project for less than, say 2%, then you could get 2% on a
> regular basis.
> We are our own worst (business) enemy and we would rather worry about
> graphically beautiful drawings (with shading), ponder rigid diaphram vs.
> flexible and then decide to do the analysis both ways, perform a time
> history analysis when it isn't really required, etc.
> We deserve exactly what we get.
> Regards,
> Bill Allen
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Brown [mailto:mike.brown(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Monday, November 02, 1998 12:38 PM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject: RE: Design fee guidelines
> I'm interested in this information as well.  I have seen in the '97
> Means for Building Construction Cost Data that the structural
> engineering fees are 1% min. to 2.5% max. of the project cost.  But I
> got to be honest, I work for an A&E firm and we're lucky if we get 1% of
> the construction cost (Usually only for complex jobs like hangers and
> pavilions).  Usually we're only budgeted for 10% of the total design
> fees set by our architects.  This usually amounts to about 0.6% of
> construction costs.
> Of course the best way to determine structural design fees or any fees
> for that matter is based on past experience for similar projects.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Coburn [mailto:bauengrg(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Monday, November 02, 1998 12:03 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Design fee guidelines
> We are attempting to find design fee guidelines with fees determined as
> a percentage of the construction costs, as designers, construction
> manager and/or design/build.  Obviously a  percentage on a parking
> structure would be higher than an residential or commercial structure.
> Can anyone suggest a source for this type of information?  Naturally
> these percentages could not be project specific and will be used as a
> guideline/starting point only.
> We would also be grateful to anyone who could provide information based
> on past projects they have been involved with, i.e., cost for services
> vs. cost of construction.  I can be reached directly at Bill(--nospam--at)
> or Dan(--nospam--at)
> Thanks in advance.